High nitrite levels off northern Peru: A signal of instability in the marine denitrification rate

L. A. Codispoti, G. E. Friederich, T. T. Packard, H. E. Glover, P. J. Kelly, R. W. Spinrad, R. T. Barber, J. W. Elkins, B. B. Ward, F. Lipschultz, N. Lostaunau

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Abstract

During February and March 1985, nitrite levels along the northern (approximately 7° to 10°S) Peruvian coast were unusually high. These accumulations occurred in oxygen-deficient waters, suggesting intensified denitrification. In a shallow offshore nitrite maximum, concentrations were as high as 23 micromoles per liter (a record high). Causes for the unusual conditions may include a cold anomaly that followed the 1982-83 El Niño. The removal of combined nitrogen (approximately 3 to 10 trillion grams of nitrogen per year) within zones of new or enhanced denitrification observed between 7° to 16°S suggests a significant increase in oceanic denitrification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1200-1202
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume233
Issue number4769
DOIs
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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    Codispoti, L. A., Friederich, G. E., Packard, T. T., Glover, H. E., Kelly, P. J., Spinrad, R. W., Barber, R. T., Elkins, J. W., Ward, B. B., Lipschultz, F., & Lostaunau, N. (1986). High nitrite levels off northern Peru: A signal of instability in the marine denitrification rate. Science, 233(4769), 1200-1202. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.233.4769.1200